0 Walter Hopkins

Walter Hopkins

Walter Hopkins

Assistant Professor of Modern Languages

Why I Teach at Houghton

I cherish the discipleship that takes place at Houghton and value the opportunity to combine two passions of my life: discipling people to become more like Christ and developing their passion for languages and cultures. There is a beautiful parallel between our faith journey and our acquisition of language. In our Christian walk, it is important for us to be ‘immersed’ in the body of Christ in order for transformation to take place. Learning about God in three persons, the teachings of Jesus, and the stories of the Old Testament are important things, but the goal of these lessons of Scripture is not simply for the sake of knowledge, but rather the growth (i.e., sanctification) that occurs as a result of being immersed in God’s Word and with fellow believers. In the instruction of a second language, learning the grammatical structures, vocabulary, etc., is also important, but the primary goal is not the knowledge, but rather the development of communicative ability (i.e., putting the learning into practice and using it for the purposes of communication). It is a joy to work with students and help them to develop along both their faith journey and their journey of language acquisition..


  • M.A., Middlebury College (2009)
  • B.A., Houghton College (2004)

Courses Taught 

  • French (first and second levels)
  • Spanish (first and second levels)
  • Crossing the Bridge: Intermediate Spanish
  • Spanish Communication
  • Aspects of Costa Rica (Mayterm)

Professional Memberships/Associations

  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
  • American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP)
  • Michigan World Language Association (MIWLA)
  • Christian Association of World Languages (CAWL)


Research Interests

  • Language teaching
  • Language teacher development
  • Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
  • Proficiency-based instruction in the language classroom
  • Proficiency-based assessment practices

Professional Experience/Achievements

  • Co-Host
    Interactive radio show/podcast about language, language acquisition, and classroom practice.
    “Talkin’ L2 with BVP (Sept. 2018-present; formerly “Tea with BVP” (2015-2018). www.classroomtapas.com/talkinl2 and www.teawithbvp.com.
  • Certified Rater
    ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL): Interpersonal Listening and Speaking (ILS) and Presentational Writing (PW)
  • Holds New York State Professional Teaching Certificate in Spanish 7-12 and French 7-12.
  • Founder
    “Language, Culture, and Service in Puerto Rico”

    • Combines study of language and service learning, in addition to studies about language policy issues in Puerto Rico and how these have affected ideas of nationalism and identity in Puerto Rico.
  • Participant
    Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Summer Orientation, sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

    • Provided constructive feedback to the Fulbright Scholars on their teaching demonstrations. (2015-2017)
  • Editorial Review Board member
    Central States Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL) report, a peer-reviewed journal. (2016).
  • Honorable Mention recipient
    Graduate Employees’ Union at Michigan State University for the Outstanding Supervisor of the Year award. (2014).
  • Recipient
    American Association fo Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Junior-Senior Faculty Mentor travel stipend to travel and present at the AATSP conference in Panama City, Panama. (2014).


  • Hopkins, W. (Sept. 2017). “Setting Goals and Assessing Student Achievement.” Invited workshop at the Anderson Language and Technology Center – University of Colorado. Boulder, CO. Two-day workshop.
  • Hopkins, W. (May 2017, May 2018). “Using Can-Do Statements to Set Achievable Goals for Students.” Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) Partnership Workshop. East Lansing, MI. Workshop session.
  • Hopkins, W. (Oct. 2016). “Implications of ACTFL’s Proficiency Guidelines on Curriculum Development.” Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) at Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI. Professional Development Series Workshop..
  • Trego, D. and Hopkins, W. (April 2016). “¿Adónde vamos? Creando metas. Creando éxito.” Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) at Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI. Immersion Workshop (three hour session).
  • VanPatten, B., Trego, D., and Hopkins, W. (Nov. 2015). “In-Class vs. Online Testing.” American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Conference. San Diego, CA. Research Special interest group sponsored conference session.
  • Hopkins, W. (July 2015). “From Finishing the Textbook to Achieving Goals: The What and How of Goal-Oriented Instruction.” American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AASTP) Conference. Denver, CO. Workshop.
  • Hopkins, W. (July 2015). “Compañeros de conversación para promover objetivos comunicativos.” American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Conference. Denver, CO. Conference session.


  • VanPatten, B., Trego, D., and Hopkins, W. (2015). “In-Class vs. Online Testing in University-Level Language Courses: A Research Report.” Foreign Language Annals, 48.4: 659-68.
  • VanPatten, B., and Hopkins, W. (2015). “Can-Do Statements for a Basic Language Program.” CLEAR News, 19.2: 1-5.

Other Interests/Hobbies/Enjoyments

  • I’m often at a loss as to what to say when people ask me what my hobbies are.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing things, but rather that I have recognized that, for me, it’s not so much about the activity itself, but rather that I’m doing it with other people. I really enjoy being with people and it doesn’t really matter what we’re doing. I enjoy just hanging out and chatting.
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